"Too much suffering, not enough hope..."
"Too much suffering, not enough hope…"
Manuel Valls got that right in his major policy address to the National Assembly on April 8. He didn't bother to add that his party is the cause of most of the suffering and that the vassal of the Socialist Party - the UMP - is the cause of the rest. And of course he couldn't bring himself to admit that the Front National offers what little hope there is for the country:
(…) Through their votes and the historic number of abstentions, the French expressed their disappointment, their doubts, their discontent and sometimes their anger. They expressed fear of the future, fear of too much taxation… and their thirst for justice. I heard them. They spoke against political impotence. And the President of the Republic has drawn political lessons from this very clear message.
(…) I want to render homage to Jean-Marc Ayrault. He acted with rectitude, a sense of the State. (…) In very different circumstances, sixty years ago, a man showed us the way, Pierre Mendès-France.
(…) I promise to tell the French people the truth. Reality is there, we must look at it without trembling."
Note: The innocent people you threw into jail have seen the reality you speak of, Manuel. Promising to tell the French people the truth is the daily pastime of French leaders. But the French have always believed the lie, until now. And even now, we aren't certain they fully appreciate the scale of the emergency.
However, Valls did concede the following without pointing to the underlying causes:
(...) Attacks on people have been continuously rising for thirty years, drug trafficking, increase in the number of burglaries… Finally there are all these uncivil insults that ruin people's lives. All of that has been affecting the morale of our fellow citizens, and not just for six months, but for years. That is the truth.
Note: Indeed it is. Valls has just condemned his own party's long-standing policies.
(…) A strong democracy has a respected Parliament. The Executive determines the aims, and the Parliament passes the laws. I know the expectations of the parliamentary majority, I share them. And I want to work with the majority on the foundations of a balanced contract. I want to work with the Radicals, the Socialists, and also the Ecologists. I have no adversary on the left, and we can make progress together in many areas.
(…) To govern is to listen to the ensemble of national representatives, hence the opposition. I will propose that the party chairmen of the UMP and UDI (centrist) meet with me next week.
(…) We must produce, we must create lasting jobs in France: this is the goal of the responsibility pact. To undertake, create, take risks, this is the positive measure that I encourage, it is good for our country. We will act to encourage enterprises, to improve the functioning of the labor market, to simplify procedures. Everyone must commit to employment: it is an initiative that will renew our country. This pact must materialize.
Note: The above excerpts are from Libération. The excerpts below are from an English-language site This French Life, that I was fortunate to find because translating economic information is difficult for me. (The speech was widely reported in the English-language press.)
(…) First of all, there’s the cost of labour. It must fall. That’s one of the levers of competitiveness: it’s not the only one, but it carries a lot of weight. The government of Jean-Marc Ayrault began the drive with the creation of the competitiveness and employment tax credit, which is due to reach €12 billion this year and €20 billion next year. We’ll take reductions in the cost of work to €30 billion by 2016.
I refuse to pit the effort for the least qualified jobs – which we need – against the effort for the qualified jobs which make us competitive, particularly in industry. The one addresses the urgent need to create jobs and the other the necessity of exporting. So we’ll do both.
Note: "Least qualified" refers to unskilled labor. These are the jobs most immigrants usually seek. However, more and more, due to affirmative action, they are demanding the more "qualified" jobs that theoretically should go to Frenchmen. This explosive topic was not addressed by Valls.
At the level of the minimum wage, employer contributions to URSSAF [Unions de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales – network of private organizations which collect social security contributions] will be ended on 1 January 2015. Zero taxes for employers on employees who are paid the minimum wage. That’s change! That’s a real revolution! The scale of existing reductions between the minimum wage and 1.6 times the minimum wage will consequently be modified. We’ll devote €4.5 billion to this.
Note: Social Security is the national health insurance. He's saying that companies will not have to pay into the fund for those employees who receive the minimum wage.
For salaries up to three and a half times the minimum wage, i.e. – let’s never forget this – more than 90% of employees, family allowance contributions will be reduced by 1.8 points on 1 January 2016. That is an additional reduction of nearly €4.5 billion. It will in no way penalize the financing of family policy, to which other predictable receipts will be allocated. Self-employed workers and traders, who represent a job creation reservoir, will benefit from a more than three-point reduction in their family allowance contributions from 2015 onwards – i.e. €1 billion.
Note: So companies with workers who earn up to three and a half times the minimum wage will not have to pay into the family allocation fund. Families themselves will not be penalized.
That’s the state’s effort. It’s equal to the challenge: €30 billion in reductions in the cost of labour, i.e. the equivalent of family allowance contributions. As the President announced on 14 January.
To increase investment, the government will also act through taxation. Firstly by reducing production taxes like the Contribution Sociale de Solidarité des Sociétés [tax on companies to fund social security], paid by 300,000 companies. It will be completely eliminated in three years. This represents some €6 billion in additional margins, €1 billion of it in 2015.
Regarding taxation on company profits, the surtax established under the previous government term will be eliminated in 2016, as expected. The normal rate of this tax will also be reduced to 28% in 2020, with an initial intermediate stage in 2017. Finally, to simplify our tax system, several dozen small, complex and low-yield taxes will be eliminated.
Note: Reducing the tax on profits is a reform - but it's put off until 2020!
Ladies and gentlemen deputies, the State has shouldered its responsibilities. It’s up to employers to honour their commitments. They were specified in the agreement reached between the employers and unions on 5 March. This agreement sets two major goals: job creation, particularly for young people and older people; and the quality of employment, the training of employees, apprenticeship and the improvement and recognition of qualifications.
Note: There is much more on the economy, but I would rather move on to a segment of the speech quoted at Le Salon Beige:
(…) France is also a country of liberty. The majority (i.e., the Socialists) proved that by opening marriage to same-sex couples. But I would like appeasement, and so would the President of the Republic. That too is the left! The left is faithful to itself and its values when it can address everyone and bring them together. In a country riddled with fractures and rumors, notably on this so-called gender theory, all republicans must learn to listen to one another, find common ground and avoid excesses that lead only to the victory of extremism.
Note: When accused of forcing "gender theory" in the public schools, the government had responded that it was a "rumor". In fact, gender theory is surreptitiously included in the general sex education package that schools are forced to teach. Note too that he says "all republicans", not "all Frenchmen".
(…) I'm thinking about penal code reform, the goal of which, I remind you, is to fight against repeat offenders. I'm thinking about the family, a subject we must continue to legislate on, solely in the interest of the child. I'm thinking about immigration and asylum policies: two bills that you will soon examine. I'm thinking also about end-of-life, on which a consensus can be found in the extension of the Leonetti law.
Note: The above law is similar to the instructions we all receive from our doctors and lawyers - write your "advance directive" and be sure your heirs (who have everything to gain from your death) know what to do! I am personally totally against this practice, though I had to comply with it in order to get a certain type of health insurance. The Leonetti law attempts to distinguish between "compassionate" palliative care and active attempts to continue to treat the patient. This is not possible to predict, nor is it possible to determine exactly when a person should be kept alive or "allowed to die". These questions have resulted in many Catholics being opposed to the Leonetti law.
LSB readers have a lot to say:
- Go on with your job of destroying the family… do you at least know what a family is, Monsieur Valls? You call yourself a Catholic… I think that you don't understand! And since we are spied upon, maybe you will read this, but your political schemes and your pride could not care less!
- When Valls speaks of appeasement that means: beginning now those who don't agree with me can shut their mouth!
- Will Mme Valls, Mme Taubira and their daughters be the first to bear children and put them up for sale, in order to set an example? It's such a step forward that the republicans should be the first to make use of it. Slavery is back in the French Republic: spread the word…
- Oh go back to Spain! France is seduced by these foreigners who hate us. We must seize power.
- He doesn't give a damn about us, our families, or the interest of the child. He doesn't give a damn about France. Monsieur Valls is an impostor, a crook, a coward, a thug, a cynic who only believes in his own little self! He should be stripped of French nationality!
Note: Valls is part Spanish, part Italian Swiss (Manuel Carlos Valls Galfetti, Galfetti being his mother's maiden name), and thoroughly trained in the art of Socialism. Socialism is always the same, it has no nationality. A Socialist will feel at home in any Socialist country. In a 2007 article from Le Point Valls is described as a young ambitious mayor who wants to become the "Sarkozy of the left". Since Sarko was already a leftist in disguise, this was no Herculean task. We can be fairly sure that the end result will be the same - covered-up failure, punctuated by minor pseudo-successes that will be used to promote his chances in the 2017 presidential election. (Just speculating)
In a critique of the newly re-shuffled government, Catholic writer Guillaume de Thieulloy, having listed his concerns, turns to the potential for loss of freedom under Valls:
(…) Finally, my last concern is about Manuel Valls himself. I have not forgotten that he was one of the few locally elected Socialists to take into account the reality of the situation, to propose ending the 35-hour work week, to understand the problem of crime. But I cannot forget either his disastrous record as Interior Minister… And above all, I see that the only way he can obtain the support of the weakened Socialist majority in the National Assembly is to make pledges. Now, the only ones possible, without altering radically his image (a slow and dangerous undertaking, not worth risking), are those connected to public liberties - in particular the Internet, the bête noire of Socialists. There is every reason to believe that it will be against the honest people, and especially against our freedoms, that this "combative government" will act. Our freedoms have already shrunk, like a shagreen skin.
Note: The reference to shagreen skin is taken from the Balzac novel La Peau de Chagrin in which a piece of shagreen gradually shrinks, symbolizing the passage of time and the approach of death, like an hourglass. In other words, France does not have much time. Shagreen is a type of rawhide.
Below, the impassioned Prime Minister.